The Ministry of Education has received 300 multi-functional Orbit Readers 20 from Unilever Kenya to assist visually impaired students in secondary schools.
The braille assistive devices worth Ksh 22 million were produced by Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa (KTBA) in partnership with the Kenya government to ensure sustainability for blind learners.
Speaking on Thursday at the Kenya Institute of Special Education headquarters in Nairobi, the Director of Special Needs Education, Fred Haga, said the devices were vital as they will assist the blind and deaf-blind learners to more easily access education in schools.
Haga said visually impaired students in the country have been facing challenges of accessing reading materials as compared to other students due to an imbalance in the braille reading materials distribution.
“Currently braille materials distribution ratio to students is 1:5 whilst the students with no disability enjoy the textbooks at a ratio of 1:1” said Haga. He at the same time assured of the Ministry of Education’s commitment to ensuring that every child has access to quality education.
The Director said the ministry is in the process of purchasing 200 braille devices, among them orbit readers which will be distributed to schools across the country.
Speaking at the event, the General Manager, Unilever Kenya, Ochieng Luck said the provision of learning materials to special schools demonstrates inclusivity, as they are important for the development and integration between learners who may have visual impairments with their sighted peers.
KTBA Executive Director Suparna Biswas, in his remarks, said the Orbit Reader 20 is a newly digitized brailler that can easily access enormous amounts of reading material via Bluetooth and SD Cards.
According to officials from KISE, the braillers are bulky and difficult to move around, and the use of digitalized systems will help visually impaired learners and the country in achieving the goal of inclusivity.
KISE is urging organizations to partner with Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Africa to enable more children with visual impairments to participate in an equal setting with the able-bodied children.